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Penn Forest’s short-term rental rules begin

A discussion on rules for short-term rentals led off the November Penn Forest Township supervisors meeting. The rules adopted earlier this year are now going into effect. Property owners operating short-term rental properties need to have them registered, or face fines.

Now that the rules are in place, these businesses face up to a $1,000 fine for incidents. Property owners in the Towamensing Trails development spoke about having fines that their association can impose.

During a discussion about a hypothetical noise complaint that continues, the association can come and make a complaint, which involves calling in to the township’s short-term rental complaint line. There would be a fine from the association, and if in two hours the problem does not stop, another call would mean the property owner earns the $1,000 fine from the township as well. With the association security involved, the incident would be well-documented.

Supervisor Christian Bartulovich encourages people to make the call when there is a problem. The system will then start a timer after notifying the property owner or listed local contact. Ideally, they will then get the problem solved quickly, to the satisfaction of the neighbors. If not, a second call two hours later kicks in the penalties.

There is a set of rules about false complaints and harassing calls. A false complainer can be liable for a fine up to $1,000 for a false report.

Township Zoning Officer Kathryn Forry reported that there has been a lot of activity in short-term rental paperwork in October, increasing as the date for the rules to be in effect approached.

In other business, the township will add another trash compactor to the Transfer Station, at a cost of $18,954, from Winter Equipment. The concrete pad for this is already done by the township roads crew. The electrical hookup will be done by WB Electric for $1,435.

An electronics recycling day for township residents at the Transfer Station will be Nov. 20 starting at 9 a.m., and continuing until the trucks are full (no later than 3 p.m.).

Township engineer Hanover Engineering was absent from the meeting and the Zoom call.

They had not provided the specs for the desired new salt shed at the Transfer Station, along with a trench to redirect water away from the current salt storage garage. Without the specs, the project will have to wait until spring. Engineers’ input on a couple of other items was also unavailable. After an executive session, the subject of engineering services for the township was added to the agenda by unanimous vote, and then supervisors voted to advertise for request for proposals for engineering services for the township.

The trunk or treat event at the township park was very successful. The park committee did a wonderful job, and are already planning a bigger event. The committee, which has only four members at this time, will welcome new members and park volunteers. Contact the township office at 570 325-2768 to become involved.